JAILHOUSE ROCKS! (Acts 16:22-34)
Drip, drip, drip. The weary jailer watched the water slowly run into the green slimy puddle at his feet. He slumped on a stone seat, deep in the basement of the Philippian jail. It had been a hectic day. At least now the troublemakers were under lock and key in D-cell.
D-cell - D'rats, D'damp and D'dark. They'd certainly know they were in prison! They were much worse off than he was. At least he had a job. He had to feed his young family somehow.
Drip, drip, drip. Sometimes he'd wish there was more to his life than the same insults, freezing cold, monotony
Suddenly loud singing echoed along the stone corridor. The jailer gave a wry smile - full marks for trying. This was a change from the usual screams and insults. What they lacked in quality they certainly make up for with volume. He'd let them go on for a bit before he shut them up. The jailer buckled his sword on and paced up and down the small room, carefully avoiding the growing puddles.
Drip, drip, drip. Rumble, rumble, CRASH! THUMP!
The floor shook. The jailer didn't know what hit him! One moment he was walking, the next he was flat on his back, overwhelmed by thunderous bangs, loud screams, crashing rocks and timber. He struggled to his feet and retrieved the lamp which had spun across the floor. The tremors and sounds meant only one thing - an earthquake.
The prisoners! He struggled past stones which had caved in to get to the prisoners' cells. He could faintly make out the closest cell door. It lay wide open, hanging off its hinges.
His throat tightened. Sudden panic hit him like a shock. 'They'll escape - they'll all escape! It was my watch. I'll be held responsible.' He grabbed his sword. He knew what he had to do. A swift end was better than the death the Romans would give him. They were unforgiving when it came to escaped prisoners. He drew his blade and held it against his throat.
An urgent voice from the shadows shouted, 'No wait. We are all here! We haven't escaped!'
In the half- light the jailer could make out the burly figure of the man named Paul with his mate Silas at his side - the singers from D-cell.
'What must I do to be saved?' the jailer cried out as a quake again shook the walls. Paul's reassuring eyes met the terrified jailer's gaze.
'Believe in Jesus,' was Paul's confident reply.
'How?' the puzzled jailer asked. There was something about these men - they were impressive - so assured, so safe. He wanted to be like that.
The jailer was laughing as Paul and Silas crowded around the small table with his wife and children. He couldn't explain it, but a deep longing, a thirst for peace had been filled by that word 'believe'. Whatever lay ahead could not shake him. His life was complete. He had Jesus, Jesus, Jesus. Nothing else mattered.
© Don Stott, http://eliab.com
Paul & Silas